Tag Archives: Faber and Faber

Spotlight – #WinterCarrollReadAlong


So with those frosty mornings and cold evenings approaching and Christmas just around the corner the lovely Luna from lunaslittlelibrary.wordpress.com and myself thought what better way to get into the Christmas spirit than to read a couple of wintery reads to get our tinsel in a twist and our Christmas lights glowing bright.

So the  #WinterCarrollReadalong was born!


From the 1st – 10th December 2015 we will be reading both Frost Hollow Hall and The Snow Sister by Emma Carroll and invite you to join in using the hash tag #WinterCarrollReadalong on twitter!

Share your thoughts and feelings with us whilst reading these two fab books and we also have a little giveaway to enter if you join in!

There are no rules as to which order these books are read in, you can read them both at the same time if you want.

Just use the hashtag and all participants* are eligible to win a Snow Sister inspired necklace hand-crafted by the lovely Luna herself……and it’s beautiful!

emmacarrollnecklace Details of the Giveaway are below and will be for UK entrants only.

Above all enjoy the #WinterCarrollReadalong – we can’t wait!

About The Books


Ever since her sister, Agnes, died, Pearl has a tradition every time it snows. She makes a person out of snow. A snow sister. It makes Christmas feel a little less lonely.
On Christmas Eve, her father receives a letter about a long-lost relative’s will. Is their luck about to change? In anticipation of a better Christmas, Pearl goes to beg credit at Mr Noble’s grocery to get ingredients for a Christmas pudding. But she is refused, and chased down the street where she is hit by a hansom cab. The snow is falling so hard that they can’t take her home. She’ll have to stay at Flintfield Manor overnight, in a haunted room… Will Pearl make it home for Christmas?


The gates to Frost Hollow Hall loomed before us. They were great tall things, the ironwork all twisted leaves and queer-looking flowers. And they were very definitely shut.

Tilly’s heart sinks. Will’s at the door of their cottage, daring her to come ice-skating up at Frost Hollow Hall. No one goes near the place these days. Rumour has it that the house is haunted . . . Ten years ago the young heir, Kit Barrington, drowned there in the lake. But Tilly never turns down a dare.
Then it goes horribly wrong. The ice breaks, Tilly falls through and almost drowns. At the point of death, a beautiful angel appears in the water and saves her. Kit Barrington’s ghost.
Kit needs Tilly to solve the mystery of his death, so that his spirit can rest in peace. In order to discover all she can, Tilly gets work as a maid at Frost Hollow Hall. But the place makes her flesh crawl. It’s all about the dead here, she’s told, and in the heart of the house she soon discovers all manner of dark secrets . . .

About Emma Carroll


When I’m not writing books, I work part-time as an English teacher at a secondary school in Devon. It means I’m never far from books or words or writing, which is perfect!

As a child, I wrote stories about ponies and pop stars, though not together. Nowadays it’s called fan-fiction; back then it was just weird.

After school, I worked as a reporter on a local newspaper. From there I went to university to study English Literature. After backpacking around the Middle East, South America, Australia, I did a PGCE in English and became a teacher.

Many years later, I bought myself a lovely big notebook and some new pens. I enrolled on the MA Writing For Young People at Bath Spa University, and got writing again. ‘Frost Hollow Hall’ was started on the MA course. It is my first novel, and took two years and many cups of tea to write.
I live in the Somerset hills with my husband and two Jack Russell terriers.

Check out Emma’s website – https://emmacarrollauthor.wordpress.com/

Follow Emma on Twitter @Emmac2603

Check out a fab guest post by Emma about fairies here

And also a fab guest post Emma did for National Transplant week here

Or an extract from Strange Star here or a Guest Review of Strange Star by Perdita Cargill


All participants* of the #WinterCarrollReadalong are eligible to win a Snow Sister inspired necklace hand-crafted by Luna.


*UK Only

All you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below!

Also if you post a review of either of the books (or both) by the 15th December 2015 you will get an extra entry into the draw!

It’s a tight turnaround but we want to make sure the winner gets the necklace in time for Christmas to make it extra magical!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

So feel free to join us and share your thoughts and feelings, enter the giveaway and don’t forget to use the hash tag #WinterCarrollReadalong on twitter so we can see them!

Happy Christmas!


Tales Q&A with Natasha Farrant

The Things We Did for Love new (3)

After Iris new coverFLORA new cover








Pumpkin cover

I am super excited to be a part of the YA Shot Blog Tour and thanks to the lovely author and YA Shot organiser Alexia Casale I have been paired up with the wonderful and super lovely Natasha Farrant!


“YA Shot is a one-day Young Adult and Middle Grade ‘festival’ taking place in the centre of Uxbridge on Wednesday 28 October 2015 in partnership with Hillingdon Borough Libraries and Waterstone’s Uxbridge. 71 authors will be involved in a programme of workshop, panel and ‘in conversation’ events (plus book-signing sessions) in the Uxbridge Civic Centre, Waterstone’s Uxbridge and Uxbridge Library. There is also a programme of 6 fantastic blogging and vlogging workshops. YA Shot is part of the ‘Culture Shot’ (now called ‘Culture Bite’) programme of events that the Libraries are organising across the Borough in October 2015.”

You can find out more about YA Shot by visiting the website www.yashot.co.uk

To buy tickets for this fab event click here

So today I have a fab Q&A with Natasha!

Join us to chat about writing, inspiration and eating books!

Hi Natasha!  Welcome to Tale Of Yesterday!  I am over the moon to have you here!  I cannot wait to hear the answers to my questions!

Let’s start with your YA historical novel. Can you tell me a bit about the inspiration for The Things We Did For Love?

The Things We Did for Love new (3)

It’s based on a village near where my parents live in South West France, which was completely destroyed by the Nazis in 1944, ten days after D-Day.  The village has been left exactly as it was when the Germans left, and it is so full of ghosts you could almost touch them.  I first visited it with my children when they were very small.  They had no understanding of why the houses were burned and roofless, or why there were rusting cars abandoned in fields.  They just played, as children do, running in and out of ruins, and as I watched them I thought that once it was normal for children to play here, and the ghosts of the villagers seemed to agree. Inside the ruined church, I cried a little, as everybody does, and said a prayer.  Then, being a writer, I thought “I want to write about this”. The Things We Did for Love is the result.  I’ve made up characters, a love story, a relationship between a brother and sister, a soldier looking for redemption – but essentially it’s the story of how terrible things can happen even when people are good, and how good things can happen even when circumstances are terrible.

I’ve recently started reading the Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby series – can you tell us a little more about the series?

After Iris new coverFLORA new cover








Pumpkin cover

It’s a series about a big, chaotic, slightly mad family, told from the point of view Bluebell, the only “normal” sibling, as she records their lives in her diaries.  The first book, After Iris, opens three years after the death of the Bluebell’s twin, when the family are falling apart but rescued by a male East European nanny with a tragic past of his own.  In the second book, Flora in Love, all the children fall in love one way or another, and in the third book, All About Pumpkin, they come to the rescue of their ageing grandmother.  The books are funny and sad and full of shouting and drama and love.   They’re for younger readers than The Things We Did for Love, really for girls between 9 and 13, but teenagers seem to love them too! 

 Someone recently described All About Pumpkin as “like Bake-Off in book form”, which is just perfect (though I hope it’s a tiny bit more thought-provoking).

Can you tell us a little about the main character Bluebell?

Blue was inspired by my daughter when she was about twelve. She was very ill, and having trouble at school, and the loneliness of growing up trying to deal with all that came together in my mind to form a character who was a little apart, very good at noticing the things that other people miss, desperate to get on with life but not sure how to do it. Blue is also learning to live without her twin, which I only realised after I had finished is a sort of metaphor for her childhood – the part she has to leave behind in order to move forward. It’s not a bad way of thinking of anorexia.

How important are names to you? Did you pick any of the characters names in the Diaries of Bluebell Gadsby series for a reason? 

Names are crucial for characters to come to life.  Imagine if Holly Golightly was called, I don’t know – Enid Smith.  The Gadsby children all have flower names (or in the case of Pumpkin, a vegetable name…).  It’s a way of signalling they are all part a clan, and belong together.

What was your favourite scene to write?

I have so many! They sound like a string of episodes from Friends – The One with the Remote-Controlled Rats; The One with the Car Chase; The One with the Kiss That Went Wrong.  On a more serious note, in The Things We Did for Love, there is a very tender scene in which a character re-creates a pre-war tea-party. And a very dramatic, heart-breaking scene at the end which I would love to see on film. 

Do you see yourself in any of your characters or have you used any of your own experiences in the story?

There’s a bit of me in all my characters and I believe that everything I write comes from something I have experienced, either in real life or through books or film or hearing other people’s stories. But these are all springboards for the imagination. 

What would you like your reader to take from the newest addition to the Bluebell series, All About Pumpkin?

 The same as in all the Bluebell books – that families come in all shapes and sizes, but there’s nothing more important than standing up for the people you love. 

What do you think makes a good story?

 Characters you fall in love with and a cracking plot.

We would love to know a little bit more about you!  Can you give us 5 random facts we don’t know about Natasha Farrant?

I am at my absolute happiest walking on the shoreline of a beach.

I HATE getting wet in the rain.

I secretly wish I had been a showjumper.

I can eat an entire packet of Jelly Babies in one go. 

When I was little, I used to tear the corners off book pages and eat them!

*recoils in horror!*

Which of your characters would you most like to spend the day with?

Bluebell’s little sister, Jas.  We’d tear about on horseback together for hours, and then read poetry to each other.

Growing up who inspired you into writing?  Are there any Authors or books that inspired you?

Writers like Enid Blyton and CS Lewis. Don’t laugh. I know they’re not often mentioned in the same sentence, but they both created worlds in which I lost myself completely as a child. That is what I want to do for my readers when I tell a story.










Are there any recent works or authors that you admire or books you wish you had written?

I admire a lot of writers, but you can only write your own books, and it’s pointless wishing you were someone else.

What are you currently reading?

My other job is a literary scout, which means I work for overseas publishers who are looking for books to translate from English, so I am currently working my way through a pile of unpublished manuscripts.

What is your favourite book of 2015 so far?

Yikes! Honestly? This summer I read a biography of Marie-Antoinette, written in the 1930s by Austrian writer Stefan Zweig, and I couldn’t put it down.


When starting a new book or idea what does your writing process look like?

Starting a new book is the best!

Step 1 involves lots of drifting about, talking to myself and daydreaming. I write all my first drafts longhand, so Step 2 involves buying a notebook and some Pilot pens and stroking them for a while.  Step 3, and I spend a long time thinking up a title, which I write down beautifully.  Step 4 is when it all gets messy – when I actually start to write!

Do you do many school events?  What type of topics do you discuss with the children?

I don’t do as many as I would like, because I just don’t have time.  When I do, because of the nature of the books I write, my events tend to be very personal.  We talk about family a lot, and share funny stories, but also sad ones.  At one event I did, a lot of us were in tears… Luckily, we went straight into doing a writing workshop together afterwards, and those always tend to be quite raucous.

Have libraries played any part in your life or your children’s lives?

I fell in love with my husband in a library! We were at university together, and used to spend an awful lot of time pretending to work in our college library, secretly eyeing each other up…

Seriously though – yes, my children have been really blessed in their contact with passionate and intelligent school librarians whom they will remember all their lives.  Libraries are a vital part of any learning institution, and whenever I hear of another one closing,  it makes me furious and sad.

Are there any exciting plans for the rest of 2015 or 2016?

I’m finishing edits on the fourth Bluebell Gadsby novel right now, and then I have to edit my next “historical” project,  LYDIA – the story of the youngest and naughtiest sister from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.  Those both come out in 2016, when I will also be working on my first stand-alone middle-grade novel.

And finally…are you excited about the YA Shot?

I get to talk about YA historical fiction for an hour with three amazing writers – of course I’m excited! It’s going to be great.

Thank you so so much for answering so many questions Natasha!  It’s be so great having you on Tales!

Also check out this fab guest post from Natasha – Guest Post – Why Is London Such A Rich Source Of Inspiration To Writers?

About Natasha Farrant

Norfolk beach

Natasha Farrant has worked in children’s publishing for almost twenty years, running her own literary scouting agency for the past ten. She is the author of the Carnegie-longlisted and Branford Boase-shortlisted YA historical novel The Things We Did For Love, as well as two successful adult novels. Natasha was shortlisted for the Queen of Teen Award 2014, and the second Bluebell Gadbsy book, Flora in Love, is longlisted for the Guardian Children’s Prize. She lives in London with her husband and daughters.

You can find out more about Natasha on her website here

Or why not follow Natasha on twitter using @NatashaFarrant1


A huge thank you to Natasha for an absolutely a brilliant Q&A and to the lovely Alexia Casale for not only pairing me with Natasha, but for organising the brilliant YA Shot!

*hugs to you both*

Have you read any of Natasha’s books?  What did you think?  Do you have any fab library stories?  Will you be attending YA Shot?  Do let me know!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading


Cover Reveal – Rebel Of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton


I am delighted to be able to bring you all a fab UK cover reveal for the highly anticipated Rebel Of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton (above) publishing in February 2015 with Faber and Faber!

I have recently been lucky enough to read (thanks to Hannah at Faber and Faber) the first two chapters of this book and I am so super excited to read the rest!  I cannot wait!

So what’s it all about?

Sold immediately at auction across the world, this phenomenal novel is the first in a trilogy packed with shooting contests, train robberies, festivals under the stars, powerful Djinni magic and an electrifying love story. This promises to be a global super lead.

“Tell me that and we’ll go. Right now. Save ourselves and leave this place to burn. Tell me that’s how you want your story to go and we’ll write it straight across the sand.”

Dustwalk is Amani’s home. The desert sand is in her bones. But she wants to escape. More than a want. A need.

Then a foreigner with no name turns up to save her life, and with him the chance to run. But to where? The desert plains are full of danger. Sand and blood are swirling, and the Sultan’s enemies are on the rise.

About Alwyn Hamilton


Alwyn Hamilton was born in Toronto and spent her childhood bouncing between Europe and Canada until her parents settled in France. She grew up in a small town there, which might have compelled her to burst randomly into the opening song from Beauty and the Beast were it not for her total tone-deafness. She instead attempted to read and write her way to new places and developed a weakness for fantasy and cross-dressing heroines. She left France for Cambridge University to study History of Art at King’s College, and then to London where she became indentured to an auction house. She has a bad habit of acquiring more hardcovers than is smart for someone who moves house quite so often.

REBEL OF THE SANDS is her first novel.

Find out more about Alwyn Hamilton on her website – http://alwynhamilton.com/

Or why not follow her on twitter using @AlwynFJH 

Cover Reveal

And now the moment you have all been waiting for…….

Check out this fab, awesome cover for Rebel Of The Sands!!!


And here it is in more detail……….

Rebel of the Sands


*Grabby hands*

Huge shout out to the design team at Faber and Faber for a stunning cover and brilliant cover reveal gif!

I literally cannot wait for February 2016!

Join in the conversation using the hashtag #RebelSands on twitter 🙂

What do you think of the cover for Rebel Of The Sands?  Did you manage to pick up the first two chapters at YALC?  Are you looking forward to it’s release? I would love to hear from you!  Why not leave a comment using the reply button at the top of this post or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy joining the rebellion!


Guest Post – Do You Believe In Fairies? by Emma Carroll


‘You’re telling me there are fairies in this wood?’

When Alice’s brother gets a longed-for chance for a heart transplant, Alice is suddenly bundled off to her estranged grandmother’s house. There’s nothing good about staying with Nell, except for the beautiful Darkling Wood at the end of her garden – but Nell wants to have it cut down. Alice feels at home there, at peace, and even finds a friend, Flo. But Flo doesn’t seem to go to the local school and no one in town has heard of a girl with that name. When Flo shows Alice the surprising secrets of Darkling Wood, Alice starts to wonder, what is real? And can she find out in time to save the wood from destruction?

I am so so happy to have the fabulous Emma Carroll on Tales today!

*runs around in excitement*

 The brilliant In Darkling Wood was released on the 2nd July 2015, published by Faber and Faber and I have been lucky enough to receive a proof which I cannot wait to delve into!  Thank you to Hannah at Faber and Faber for my copy 🙂

So when the lovely Hannah at Faber and Faber asked me for any thoughts on a guest post for Emma I had a little think.  I quickly went back to Hannah and suggested that as the book is about fairies how about a favourite fairy related blog post!

I thought Hannah would laugh and say I had been sprinkling too much fairy dust on myself, but lucky for me Hannah and also Emma thought this was a fab idea which made me very excited indeed!

And here it is….and it’s so so wonderful!

*throws magic fairy dust and fly’s away*

Do You Believe In Fairies?

Long before this infamous line appeared in JM Barrie’s 1904 stage play of ‘Peter Pan’, people really did believe in fairies. In the West Country where I live, many still do. That belief goes back hundreds of years – before reading, before books- where stories were told out loud to entertain and educate, to keep communities safe from harm.

            That said, fairies also feature heavily in written stories- too many to mention or do justice to here. Shakespeare understood their dramatic potential- obedient Ariel serves the plot in ‘The Tempest’, in ‘ A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ Oberon and Puck’s mischief-making complicates things perfectly.









Leaping ahead a few centuries, contemporary kids’ lit does fairies brilliantly: Michelle Harrison in her ‘Thirteen Treasures’ series, RJ Anderson in ‘Knife’ and the other Faery Rebels books, Mackenzie Crook in ‘ Windvale Sprites’ to name a few.










To write ‘ In Darkling Wood’ I did quite a bit of research into fairies. I didn’t read fantasy tales set in intricately conceived fairy worlds because this wasn’t the sort of story I wanted to write. Anyway, it had already been done (see above). Mostly, I read books on fairy folklore ‘The Chime Child’ and ‘Somerset Folklore’ by Ruth Tongue, ‘A Dictionary of Folklore’ by Katherine Briggs, ‘From Ritual to Romance’ by Jessie Weston.



            All these books were published in the 1920s, which, to me, says something about old ways dying out and the need to record them. It suggested our interests were changing at this time, away from the industrial, modern, conflict-riddled world, back to a more nostalgic, magical place.

Which is where the Cottingley Fairies story comes in. In 1917, cousins Elsie Wright and Frances Griffiths borrowed Elsie’s father’s camera to take pictures of themselves near a stream where they played. The resulting pictures were said to show fairies. Initially dismissed by Elsie’s father as a prank, interest in the photographs grew until, in 1920, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote about them in an article for The Strand magazine, declaring his belief that the pictures were genuine. And so the myth took off- went viral, as it were. All their adult lives Elsie and Frances maintained the pictures were real. Finally, in old age, they admitted the fairies were just cardboard cut-outs. Yet of the five pictures taken, the final one was most definitely real.



            It was this belief in fairies, this wanting them to be real that fascinated me. What could have happened in a person’s life to make them yearn for magic? Why did people as educated and knowledgeable- as rational- as the creator of Sherlock Holmes believe in fairies?

            This was the starting point for ‘In Darkling Wood’. So, though there are fairies on the cover, don’t expect a big fantasy fest of a story. Yes, it’s a book with fairies in it, but more important are the characters whose belief makes those fairies appear. If they’d been at the theatre watching Peter Pan, they’d have been the ones in the front row shouting ‘Yes!’ loudest of all.



 About Emma Carroll


When I’m not writing books, I work part-time as an English teacher at a secondary school in Devon. It means I’m never far from books or words or writing, which is perfect!

As a child, I wrote stories about ponies and pop stars, though not together. Nowadays it’s called fan-fiction; back then it was just weird.

After school, I worked as a reporter on a local newspaper. From there I went to university to study English Literature. After backpacking around the Middle East, South America, Australia, I did a PGCE in English and became a teacher.

Many years later, I bought myself a lovely big notebook and some new pens. I enrolled on the MA Writing For Young People at Bath Spa University, and got writing again. ‘Frost Hollow Hall’ was started on the MA course. It is my first novel, and took two years and many cups of tea to write.
I live in the Somerset hills with my husband and two Jack Russell terriers.

Check out Emma’s website – https://emmacarrollauthor.wordpress.com/

Follow Emma on Twitter @Emmac2603


51z5XRUnnlL__SX325_BO1,204,203,200_Check out and buy all of Emma’s books here !

Also check out the cover for Emma’s next book out in October 2015 – The Snow Sister which you can pre order here !


Emma also did a wonderful guest post for National Transplant Week here

Also find out more about The Snow Sister and Frost Hollow Hall in the #WinterCarrollReadalong here

Or an extract from Strange Star here and a Guest Review of Strange Star by Perdita Cargill

A huge thank you to Emma for the fab guest post and to Hannah at Faber and Faber for asking me and sending me the book!  I feel all magical and fairy like now!

Have you read In Darkling Wood?  Do you believe in fairies?  What are your favourite fairy stories?  Have you read any of Emma’s other books?  I would love to hear from you!  Why not comment using the reply button at the top of the page or tweet me on twitter using @chelleytoy !

Happy Reading!


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